Welcome to Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape! We’ve played a lot of Zombie Escape-style mods, and wanted to make something standalone, and on a large scale. Up to 30 players spawn in a large world. One of them gets randomly infected, and has to spread the infection turning everyone into zombies. The human players desperately try to escape on a train through an onslaught of what seems like endless zombie hordes.
This guide will discuss all of aspects of Pandemic Express, ranging from the basic ruleset of the game, to the advanced movement mechanics and general tips and tricks.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this game, we must first establish the general rules.
- All humans can carry 2 weapons.
- Humans can have (and start with) 3 red hearts.
- Health Stations can be used by humans to fully restore their red hearts.
- When a human is killed, they are turned into a zombie.
- As humans die, remaining humans will deal more and more damage to zombies with ALL of their weapons, including melee.
There can be a maximum of 30 players in one match, but a match can start with a minimum of 15 players. If there are 30 players, a countdown of 30 seconds will start. Otherwise, there will be a 2 minute and 30 second delay before this countdown starts.
All 30 players will spawn inside of the same train station, which has yellow bars that will block off all exits. These train stations are various predetermined locations, and you can identify which you’ve spawned in by observing the general layout.
After The Countdown
When this countdown timer reaches zero, the lights will go out, and a random player will be killed and turned into a zombie. This zombie must go around and kill at least two other players. If the zombie does not kill anyone for some time, a second player will be randomly chosen to become a zombie. Once there are three zombies, the gates of your spawn will open, and you will be free to roam the map.
To win the match, the humans must escape on a train. This train will spawn a few hundred meters away from the station that all humans started in. Standing on the train will move it forward. If no one is on the train, it will not move. If a human dies, the train will automatically be stopped for 8 seconds.
The goal of the game is to get this train back to your spawning station, and move it past the orange checkpoint. Once the train is past this checkpoint, ALL humans who are alive will win the match, even if they are not on the train.
As the match progresses, a circle will close in on the train’s position. If you are outside of this circle as a human, it will very slowly damage you. In it’s current state, this circle is not much of a threat, but it is still best to stay inside of it.
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the circle is that all health stations that are NOT inside of the circle will be turned off, preventing you from using them. By the end of the game, this means that there may be no health stations that can be used.
Zombies will always spawn at Zombie Nests. They can be found by looking for an icon that is a big red skull. As the train moves throughout the map, the zombie nest will change position. They always be in a predetermined position AHEAD of the train. Most of the time, this will be in a large tower with an overhang, but there are exceptions to this.
There are 6 different weapons in Pandemic Express. 5 of these weapons are affected by their tier, which can be known via the color of the weapon, the color of the weapon’s ui when you’re looking at it, and the number of stars the weapon has.
There are six different tiers that a weapon can have.
- Tier 1 – White, 1 star
- Tier 2 – Green, 2 stars
- Tier 3 – Blue, 3 stars
- Tier 4 – Lavender/Purple, 4 stars
- Tier 5 – Gold, 5 stars
- Special – Orange, 6 stars – (This is reserved for the rocket launcher)
From what I have observed, the ONLY thing that tiers will affect is the amount of ammo that your weapon’s magazine can hold. For instance, a Tier 1 revolver can only hold 3 bullets before a reload is necessary, but the Tier 5 revolver can hold 18 bullets before a reload. This is incredibly substantial, and a higher tier of the same weapon will ALWAYS be more valuable.
You should ALWAYS strive for at least two tier 3 weapons. Anything lower will make the game substantially more difficult.
The shotgun is, in my opinion, easily the best weapon in the game. It has an enormous amount of knockback against zombies. When few humans are alive, the shotgun does INCREDIBLE amounts of damage at close range, taking just two (sometimes one) shots to kill, but quickly falls off at long ranges. It has a fairly fast firing rate, and a nice reload speed that reload one shell at a time and can be interrupted. However, the true power of the shotgun will not be mentioned here, as that is out of the scope of this section. Know that a tier 3 or above shotgun is a must have for the late game.
I would always drop one of the lesser weapons on this list in favor of a shotgun at any tier.
Ah, the revolver. My personal second favorite. It pairs well with the shotgun, being fairly accurate at any range, and having perfect hipfire accuracy with minor recoil. It has a notable amount of knockback, making it a fantastic candidate for the early game. During the later stages of the game, it will fall off if you do not have a higher tier because of its lower magazine size. However, I will always take a tier 4 or tier 5 revolver over any of the other weapons excluding the shotgun.
The Assault Rifle
This is an interesting weapon. It has a fast fire rate and a decent magazine size, even at lower tiers. However, the hipfire inaccuracy hurts this weapon a lot. It’s not as bad as the SMG, but it’s clearly less favorable than the revolver’s pinpoint accuracy when hipfiring. The AR’s knockback can hold zombies back, but it isn’t as powerful as the revolver’s or the shotgun’s. It can deal a decent amount of damage in the late game, and combined with its fast fire rate, it can deal with hordes pretty quickly. The Assault Rifle is a decent choice, and some might find it more favorable than the revolver. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your loadout.
The SMG is THE weapon for spamability. It without a doubt has the fastest fire rate in the entire game, and the tier 5 version has the highest magazine size in the entire game, with a whopping 100 bullets before a reload. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest weapon to aim. The hipfire inaccuracy on this is horrific. Aiming down sights does you no favors, either, as the weapons kick makes it impossible to see what you’re shooting at. It’s a valid choice, sure, but I wouldn’t take it over any of the above weapons, unless you have a much higher tier of the SMG than you do the others. Excluding the shotgun, of course.
God, I despise this gun. It should be incredible in theory. The most notable aspect of the sniper is that headshots will ALWAYS instantly kill a zombie, even if most humans are alive. However, this is made incredibly difficult by the fact that the ironsights are just flat out garbage. At longer ranges, it’s hardly usable. Additionally, there is no crosshair for hipfiring, so you pretty much have to aim down sights to use this weapon effectively.
If you feel you can land your shots consistently, this is a powerful weapon, perhaps one of the best. But otherwise, it’s easily the worst one on this list. Drop it at the sight of a better weapon.
The Rocket Launcher
This weapon is truly a gamble. On one hand, it is extraordinarily powerful, and only spawns in the form of the special tier. It has 7 rockets, all of which will instantly kill any zombie it hits when it explodes. This can lead to some hilarious spawn camping at the end of a match, as shooting this thing into zombie spawn over and over again will net you a dozen or two kills.
On the other hand, though, it ONLY has those 7 rockets. You cannot grab ammo for the rocket launcher like any of the other weapons. By taking it, you are sacrificing your second weapon slot for a powerful but limited use weapon. Once it is used up, you’ll have to settle with what you find. And that may be a tier 1 sniper. God help you.
I don’t know where else to put this section, to be honest. “Armor” spawns in the form of a large, black jar. Hovering your cursor over it will display a yellow shield.
Armor is incredibly vital, and you should go out of your way to look for it early game and mid game. It spawns near other weapons, and each building has predetermined locations where it can spawn. Learning these locations and quickly scouting for it is very important.
Armor will grant you an additional yellow heart per jar. You may have up to 3 of these yellow hearts, or a maximum of 6 hearts total. These armored hearts are not damaged via the circle, and will prevent you from being grabbed and thrown by zombies. Armor will also prevent you from being one shot by bombers. All of this WILL save your life a LOT. Keep your eye out for it.
Movement is, without question, the most important aspect of Pandemic Express. If you want to be a good, valuable player, you must learn to move effectively. This section will discuss the various tools at your disposal, and ways in which you can use them to increase your chances of survival at all stages of the game.
WASD to move, shift to sprint, space to jump, and control to crouch. There’s nothing substantial to cover here, and it’s fairly slow in game. You’ll want to avoid walking and sprinting everywhere as much as you can.
The first trick you should learn is Double Jumping. Jump while you’re in the air, and you go higher. You can use this to clear obstacles like fences and such, but it’s advanced uses require a bit more context later in this section. Something you should know, however, is that you move slightly, almost unnoticeably faster when double jumping and moving forward. Use this to gain a slight edge when trying to get somewhere before someone else.
Sliding is your best friend. It lets you go very fast. Using sliding on any slope you may notice will give you a nice speed boost. On larger slopes, this speed boost is MASSIVE. That alone is nice, but if you jump before you reach the end of the slope, you preserve your momentum. Double jumping keeps you in the air longer, and still preserves your momentum. Timing your jumps well will allow you to travel over a hundred meters in a matter of seconds. Use this at every opportunity you have.
Unfortunately, your momentum is reset when you touch the ground, so you cannot chain slides together, even on slopes.
Mattress piles are scattered around the map. Stepping on these will give you a nice upward boost and some extra forward momentum. Use these if a slope isn’t nearby.
Rocketjumping or Gunjumping
One of the most interesting and important mechanics in this game is that every weapon will give you momentum if you shoot a wall very near you. If you’ve ever played Team Fortress or Quake, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I believe the force that each weapon will give you is based on the damage that they do, but this is unconfirmed. Remember when I said that I couldn’t talk about the shotgun’s true beauty? This is where it truly shines. The shotgun is unquestionably the best weapon to gunjump with.
This ability is without a doubt what defines you as a player. It allows you to rapidly change positions, get high ground, and move around the map at lightning speed. Using this properly makes it incredibly difficult for even the best zombies to touch you. It should be your main method of movement. Gunjumping works on anything with a collider.
The easiest way to do it is to walk up to a wall, look towards your feet but in a way so that your crosshair is still on the wall, and start shooting. If you want to climb buildings, you must move towards to wall you are shooting at.
I highly recommend you open the warmup mode and start practicing this ability. Even using it on a basic level will put you far above other players. Get used to strafing in the air. Try to climb buildings. Try to use the trees to give yourself horizontal momentum. Practice, practice, practice with this ability. It will massively improve the game for you.
Some Advanced Tips/Tricks
Sprinting and sliding, and then jumping as soon as you start sliding, will make your first jump MUCH higher. Use this to get to tricky spots when you can’t gunjump.
Jumping before you gun jump will give you some extra upward momentum.
If you slide down a slope, jump near the end of the slope and shoot a surface, and then near the end of THAT jump, double jump and shoot another surface mid jump, you will go really, REALLY god damn fast. This is the “ideal” or “optimal” movement, it is rarely possible under normal circumstances but you should strive for it. You can do it, I believe in you.
There are three different types of zombies in the current state of the game.
The standard infected only have two moves, attack and grab. Attacks will deal one heart of damage to a human player, and will knock the human back.
The grab can be used on any human without armor, but has a cooldown. Once a human is grabbed, they can be thrown very far. The most common strategy right now is to throw a human into a body of water to leave them slow and defenseless. But you can also use grab on explosive barrels. Throwing these towards a human will send them flying. This is vital for getting humans off of high ground, or throwing them off of their intended path. A good barrel can get humans killed.
Ooooh bombers, these guys are really god damn dangerous. If you hear rapid beeping and see a yellow warning sign, you need to get the hell away from wherever you are. A bomber within melee range will deal three hearts of damage. That’s an instant kill on a human without armor.
The only real way to deal with bombers is to either shoot them until they’re too far away to do any damage, or to run.
If you’re the bomber, though, you have a lot of opportunities for kills. The best strategy is to flank and charge in, with your timer already ticking, while the humans are preoccupied.
I don’t know much about these mime lookin’ mothers, to be honest. They can turn invisible. They’re not too dangerous. If you hear some beeping but you don’t see a zombie nearby, just gunjump away.
Now that we’ve covered the rules, the weapons, and the movement, we can start to cover how your games should go.
The “Pre-Game” is the stage where people are either still joining the lobby, or the 30 second countdown is starting. Use this time to jump into a high, safe spot. Try to use the slide-jump technique to get somewhere most other people can’t. Each spawn has a sort of mini parkour level you can do for fun, but also for safety.
Planning Your Route
After you’ve found a safe spot, you need to start to plan your route. But this shouldn’t be general. You should at the very least account for even the smallest of slopes directly outside of the spawn area, which you should have memorized by now. These slopes can get you speed and away from the zombies. Even the smallest amount of distance between you and the swarm is the difference between life and death in the early game. Do not take planning your route lightly. Use everything you can to your advantage when getting to where you want to go.
Your first stop to consider when planning your route should be somewhere thats:
- A) Not going to be visited by many people and.
- B) Guaranteed to have loot.
Getting a gun in the early game lets you gunjump, and gunjumping will save your god damn life. Next, you need to consider if you are going to go for the airdrop or not. 99% of the time, the answer should be yes. That should be all you need to account for before the game has started. Try to reserve calm moments for planning and intense moments for doing.
With your route planned out, and the first zombie chosen, you need to stay alive. Use your movement to juke the zombies if you can. Once those gates drop though, you need to book it. Slide on the slopes you see, and do everything in your power to get the hell away from spawn.
When you reach your first looting station, whether its a train car or a house, the first thing you should be looking for is a gun. Preferably, a shotgun or a revolver. If you spot some armor, take it, but don’t risk your life for it. If you’re being chased, gunjump the hell out of there and get as far away as you can, occasionally stopping to shoot the zombies to knock them back if need be.
After you’ve gotten your gun, you should start heading for the airdrop. If it’s too dangerous to open it, or if there aren’t enough people there, don’t be afraid to abandon it. Being alive and having lower tier weapons is better than being dead and having none. Having a group with you to take the airdrop is a massive help.
Once you’ve gotten the airdrop, or decided you don’t want to, you should start heading for the train. Once it starts moving, we’ve entered the mid game.
At this point, the train has started to move, and you’re there with it to help keep zombies away. Hopefully you’ve managed to find something better than tier 1 weapons, ideally at LEAST tier 3.
However, you’re not done looting yet. When the train comes by a fairly large outpost, that is your opportunity to abandon the train and look around for armor. At this point, not having armor could mean a swift death due to bombers and being grabbed and thrown into water. Don’t be afraid to spend some time searching.
Once you’ve found some armor, you should head back to the train and help defend. However, you shouldn’t stay on the train. Pop on every now and then to keep it moving forward, but otherwise, you should be gunjumping to high ground and shooting zombies that attack the train, or shooting bombers in the distance so they prematurely activate their explosion.
Speaking of bombers, if you see that yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside, that is your signal to get the hell away from where ever you are. Look for the warning sign, and gunjump the opposite direction, even if it means giving up your super elite position. Normal zombies are easier to get away from than a bomber.
At this point, you should be making it to the checkpoint, where you’ll receive two health stations and an unlimited ammo depot, and you’ll be invulnerable inside for as long as the train is in there. Use this time to calm down and net some easy kills. Say hello to your friends who managed to actually survive. If you’ve made it this far, there’s a good chance you could win.
The train is leaving the safe zone. Music should start playing. It’s the final stretch, boys. Most likely, your game should be similar to the mid game, but put into overdrive, but depending on how many people are left, getting kills on zombies should be a whole lot easier.
Focus on getting highground. Jump away from bombers. Do everything you can to avoid the terrain. Using the roofs of zombie nests that are no longer active is a tried and true method of the late game. Every now and then, you’ll have to touch the train to get it moving.
Eventually, you’ll either mess up bad enough that you get killed, or you win.